Juneau Kayak Tours: Explore Glaciers, Observe Bears, Watch Whales

Soak Up Spectacular Scenery While You Kayak Juneau

When you vacation in a city surrounded by water, it makes sense to take advantage of it when you sightsee. If your dream vacation involves soaking up spectacular scenery and getting back to nature, while also getting in a good workout, then you need to schedule a Juneau kayak tour.

Whether you want to explore glaciers, observe brown bears, or watch whales, there’s a Juneau kayak option designed for you. Most trips are one-day excursions that offer pickup from downtown Juneau hotels. A few tours also include multiple day options so you can fully immerse yourself in America’s last frontier.

Explore Glaciers

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Mendenhall Glacier boat tours offer the perfect vantage point to view the ever-changing terrain of the 13- mile long glacier located about 12 miles from downtown. But Juneau kayak tours offer a unique opportunity to view the glacier in a more intimate, and much more quiet, way.

The Glacier View Sea Kayaking trip from Alaska Travel Adventures is a 3.5-hour tour with multiple departures each day. Glide through the icy water in double kayaks off the shore of North Douglas Island. Watch for bald eagles, herons, and other shorebirds and waterfowl, as you paddle through the Mendenhall wetlands. Price: $109 for adults, $82 for children 12 and under. Price includes rain and kayak gear, snacks, and a souvenir button. Children must weigh at least 40 pounds.

The Above and Beyond Alaska Kayak Tour to Mendenhall Glacier is an 8-hour private tour that lets you both kayak and trek on the glacier in micro-spikes. The trip in tandem kayaks is tailored to your group’s skills and goals. Trips are limited to six people, but the company offers other tours for larger groups. Price: $523.95, includes rain, paddling, and glacier gear, plus snacks. Minimum age: 12. This trip is moderately difficult.

Observe Bears

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Above and Beyond Alaska offers two Juneau kayaking trips that combine a floatplane flight and hiking with the chance to observe brown bears in their natural habitat. One tour even lets you spend three days watching bears and learning more about these fascinating creatures.

The Fortress of the Bears Kayak Adventure is an 8-hour trip to the Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary on Admiralty Island. After a 25-minute floatplane ride, you will kayak a mile to the world-famous bear sanctuary. You also may choose to hike a mile through the old-growth rainforest to a viewing stand with room for eight people where you can watch the bears from above. Trip includes rain and kayak gear, plus lunch. Price: $799, which includes $50 National Forest Service permit fee. Minimum age: 10. This trip is classified as easy to moderate.

The Fortress of the Bears Kayak and Camp Adventure expands the 8-hour trip into three-day camping excursion. In addition to exploring the Pack Creek Wildlife Viewing Area, participants also will search for bears in Swan Cove and the greater Seymour Canal/Pack Creek Zoological Area. Minimum group size is two people, with a maximum of five during the peak season in July and August. Trip includes rain and kayak gear, hot meals, and all camping equipment. Price: $1,499, which includes $50 National Forest Service permit fee. Minimum age: 10. This trip is classified as easy to moderate.

Watch Whales

juneau kayak

July through September offers peak opportunities to watch whales by kayak. Decide whether you want a six- or eight-hour tour. Or, if you dream about sleeping with whales, there’s even an overnight excursion that will let you do that.

The Paddle With Whales Adventure from Alaska Shore Tours lets you whale watch at Channel Islands State Marine Park. The 8-hour tour for a group of four to six people also offers an option to create a trip that will match your kayaking skills. Price: $389. Minimum age: 8. To enjoy this trip, you must be fit enough to paddle for more than two hours.juneau kayak

You also can paddle to the humpback whale feeding ground in Channel Islands State Marine Park on the Sea Kayak with Humpback Whales excursion offered by Above and Beyond Alaska. The 6-hour trip is limited to six people using double kayaks. Book a private tour to use a single kayak. To sign up, you must have at least two people in your group. Price: $389. Minimum age: 8. Open to all kayak experience levels.

Spend the night with the whales on this Above and Beyond Alaska excursion. The two-day, one-night trip to Channel Islands State Marine Park lets you paddle close to wildlife that lives both in the ocean and in the old-growth rainforest. Your guide will cook your meals and set up your tent on a secluded beach. To sign up, you must have at least four people in your group. The tour provides all camping and kayaking equipment, including rain gear and dry bags for your personal belongings. Maximum group size is 12. Price: $899. Minimum age: 8. This trip is moderately difficult.

Relax and Recuperate

After your adventure, head back to your suite at The Juneau Hotel, content in the knowledge you’ve burned enough calories to justify all your vacation cravings. In fact, the Taste of Nature 6-hour kayak tour blends kayaking with a locally-sourced picnic lunch on the beach.

This excursion combines kayaking, hiking, nature viewing, and fine dining. The rotating menu can include smoked salmon, Kelp salsa, Alaskan Birch syrup, and locally-grown greens. If you have food sensitivities, let organizers know since the menu includes dairy, fish, shellfish, gluten, and nuts.

Minimum group size is two. Maximum is 12. Price: $199 per person. Minimum age: 8. This trip is classified as easy.

If you still feel the need to exercise, check out The Juneau Hotel’s convenient fitness facility. Or better yet, book another kayak adventure to take advantage of all that Juneau has to offer.

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